CONCEPT IN 60 SECONDS – The Multimodality of Gender

Explanatory Video by Amy Goodloe

About the Project

At the “Digital Media and Composition” workshop I attended in the summer of 2011, we were asked to compose messages in a variety of modes and media. For one activity we were asked to compose a “concept in 60 seconds” video that conveyed a message about the nature of multimodal composition. The end result had to be exactly 60 seconds in length, including a title card and credits, and it had to be composed of video and audio from different sources (in other words, the audio couldn’t match the video).

The word “multimodality” might be new to you, but the concept isn’t: that meaning is conveyed not only through the mode of words on a page but also through modes like speech, movement, appearance, gesture, and so on. Increasingly, courses in writing and rhetoric (which is what ours is) focus on helping students learn to compose meaningful messages in a variety of modes, which is something we’ll start working on soon. But more on that later.

Given that I chose to illustrate the concept of multimodal composition by connecting it to gender, I thought y’all might enjoy seeing my video, which is below. I had never layered audio and video before, and I encountered lots of challenges along the way, but I also learned a lot and had fun making it — in only two days!

For more info on the tools and approaches I used, see the info I included with the video on its Vimeo page.

(the rest of the page is under revision for clarity)

We had about two days to make these, and they had to explain the concept of multimodality using audio and video from separate sources. I found all the video and audio footage on, and I made the “girly writing” and “guy writing” myself with screen capture software. I also made the title slides by creating transparent png files and adding them as cutaways.

To get everything to fit within the scope of exactly 60 seconds, I played around with speed settings, but I think I ended up making a few of them too fast (like the cheerleaders). I also had to cut some great clips, and the audio isn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be in places.

But this was the first time I’d ever tried making anything remotely like this, layering audio and video content and keeping it under such tight time constraints, so I certainly learned a lot in the process!

Tools used: iMovie ’09, GarageBand ’09, QuickTime X (for trimming), FLVCrunch (to extract MP3’s out of videos), SnapzPro (screen recording), and Pixelmator (a great P’shop alternative!)

(DMAC = The Digital Media and Composition Summer Institute at Ohio State University)

Composition Tools & Techniques

Here are some of the techniques I used to create the video:

  • Using screencasting to capture details (gender stereotypical handwriting)
  • Using “picture in picture” feature in iMovie (for screencasting example above)
  • Using the cutaway feature in iMovie (to use transparent PNGs instead of title cards)
  • Adjusting timing (speeding or slowing clips; delaying music soundtrack)
  • Overlapping audio tracks
  • Splitting clips (clip from Avengers, split to change pacing of Mrs. Peel’s slap)
  • Integrating clips from archival sources